The Geneseo soccer team made it an even 10 regional titles in the past 11 years and battled Peoria Notre Dame in the sectional semifinal.

The Geneseo soccer team made it an even 10 regional titles in the past 11 years and battled Peoria Notre Dame in the sectional semifinal.

Class 2A Sterling Regional Championship — Geneseo vs. Streator

It didn’t take long for the Lady Leafs to assert themselves at Roscoe Eades Stadium, in Sterling, on May 19.

Geneseo scored a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes and finished with a 4-0 victory over Streator to claim their fifth-consecutive regional title.

The Lady Leafs defense had posted eight-consecutive shutouts coming into the game, but the Geneseo offense struggled in the regional semifinal game against LaSalle-Peru.

The Maple Leafs decided the best defense might come from some good offense.

“Our plan coming into the game was to score as fast as we could,” said Lauren Murray, a senior captain.

Rachel Daniels scored in the seventh minute to give the Leafs the lead, and Taylor DeSplinter found the back of the net in the 10th minute.

Keeli Frerichs scored on a penalty kick just seven minutes into the second half, and Heather Dietrich bullied her way to a goal in the 63rd minute.

“It’s always great to come out and play hard with good intensity and get the momentum,” Dietrich said. “Then we can settle in and play our game, and it helps us calm down. It helps us play our game to get those quick goals.”

It’s become an expectation that the Lady Leafs win a regional title, but Geneseo’s players still cherished the feeling that comes from holding aloft the trophy.

Especially, the Lady Leafs seniors who finish their careers having never lost at the regional level.

“Everyone comes to practice with the same mentality and the same vision in mind,” said Lauren Henderson, a senior midfielder. “A lot of the time we are all working toward the same goal.”

Class 2A Dunlap Sectional Semifinal — Geneseo vs. Peoria Notre Dame

The Lady Leafs’ playoff path inevitably leads to Peoria Notre Dame.

The two teams combined to shutout the last 20 opponents they played, so the question became how would each team react to allowing a goal?

Geneseo gave Peoria Notre Dame’s defense all they could handle, but the Irish had all the answers defeating the Lady Leafs 3-0, in Dunlap, on May 22.

PND’s Tegan Timerman found a crack in the Geneseo defense and scored in the 16th minute to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.

After grabbing the momentum, PND created quality chances while Geneseo looked to find its footing.

However, the Leafs’ Lauren Pardoe made several saves to keep the game at 1-0 going into halftime.

Geneseo started the second half giving everything they had to try to tie the game in the first 15 minutes.

“Everybody likes to have an early goal,” Geneseo Coach Harvey Morton said. “It takes the pressure off, but ... one nothing at half we were still in the game, even after the second goal we were still in the game. We were pressing them pretty hard and had opportunities. We didn’t finish a few of them, but we had momentum in that second half. I think if we put a goal in it would’ve changed everything.”

A Division I recruit, All-State defender Autumn Weeks was an integral part of keeping the Lady Leafs off the board.

A junior, Weeks was powerful and physical around the ball, taking advantage of every Geneseo mistake.

“We’ve come out and played our best in the second half, and we’ve really been able to turn it on in the second half,” Dietrich said. “We did that this game, but we just made a few mental errors that resulted in a goal or allowed them to get the momentum back. I am proud of how we played this whole game.”

PND’s Timerman scored again in the second half, and Bridget Taylor scored just five minutes later.

Geneseo finished with a 17-4 record and finished undefeated in the NIB12 conference and won the DeKalb Tournament.